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September, 26, 2016

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Flush with offers, Chris Pratt picks a new hand to play

TORONTO--The offer to star in Antoine Fuqua's "The Magnificent Seven" came to Chris Pratt while he was on a hunting trip with friends, listening to an audio book of Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove." Having recently learned some card tricks of his own, the part — a gun-slinging card sharp — felt like kismet.

"All of the signs in my life pointed me toward doing this movie," Pratt says. "It's like when you get dealt a hand that you don't even throw a single card back. You're like: That's the hand I'm going to play."

Off of the success of "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Jurassic World," Pratt is now playing a much different game, with some enviable cards. Few actors have ever been more immediately, more head-spinningly catapulted to stardom as Pratt did when the collective US$2.9 billion in global box office of "Guardians," "Jurassic World" and "The Lego Movie" drove him to the top of the A-list.

"The Magnificent Seven," a remake of the 1960 original (which itself was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai") was the first thing Pratt decided to do. "I actually said no to a lot of things," he says. "This was the first thing I said yes to."

The film, which opens Friday, represents the first phase of Pratt's new reality as a movie star with the power to pick and choose. It's still a somewhat novel experience for the 37-year-old Pratt, whose first decade in the movie business was as a comic character actor, most recognizable as the lovable Andy Dwyer on "Parks and Recreation."

"This was the first chapter in a whole new book that was so vastly different from the first book," says Pratt. "My choice of yes or no was on an audition. Do you want to go out for this? Yes or no. No one had offered me a part ever, so I would just go out for everything."

His challenge now, he says, is to use his newfound freedom wisely. "I became someone that a studio could at least partially build a movie around," Pratt says. "It's a good thing but it's also a bad thing because you get offered all kinds of movies that you're definitely not right for. You could potentially be responsible for getting a bunch of bad movies made."

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